random thoughts: on picture memories

Some time ago, my friend Maile expressed an interest in hearing my friend Brené speak, so since Brené had a talk scheduled in Houston tonight, Maile drove down from San Antonio for a visit and for the event.  As usual, Brené was awesome.

As I've mentioned a lot here on the site, I've seen Brené speak many times; but each time, she shares a new thought or tells a new story.  Tonight, she told a story about her daughter Ellen that I hadn't heard before.  It so happens that one day they were sharing a moment together, just a quiet special time, and her daughter closed her eyes. 

"Everything okay?" Brené asked.

"Fine," Ellen said.  "Just one moment."  She was quiet for several seconds.  Then she said, "Okay."

"What was that?" Brené asked.

"I was making a picture memory," her daughter said.  Ellen explained that when she was feeling particularly blissful, she was always careful to take a moment and create a picture of what was occurring in her head, to be sure to be able to recall it when times were tough, or when she was feeling a bit sad.

I can't tell you how much I love this story.

My friend Justin wrote a beautiful post today about why you should never try to shy away from a camera -- that the pictures that are taken of you aren't really for you, but for the people who come after you, so that they can see who you once were, what your life once was, and marvel at the times you lived in.  I wholeheartedly agree with this idea.  But I also want to add that while some people feel that as a photographer, you should put the camera down once in a while and just live in the moment, I've never totally agreed with this concept.

Because honestly?  Some moments are just so beautiful, you have to make a picture memory.  And since my memory isn't as good as Ellen's, I do what I can to capture the moment.


Image:  My friend Ali's daughter Anna, touching Ali's lap.  Photographed with my Nikon D300 and 50mm lens.


SongAmerican pie by Don McLean